15 Chronic Pain Treatment Methods & Acute Pain Remedies (What Works)

Pain Relief Methods

Chronic pain treatment methods can help you live a good life, especially when the alternative is pain itself. Life can be miserable if you’re not feeling good.

This is true whether you have chronic pain that lasts a long time or acute pain that lasts a short time. Non-invasive procedures are common these days, and people can feel better with very little supervision from a health care professional.

Seeking many forms of pain relief can be complex, costly, and rack up extreme medical bills. The efforts can waste time and energy, and some treatments can be flat out dangerous. Sometimes pain can be manageable. Other times, it may turn vicious and makes life unbearable.

But are all chronic pain treatment methods effective?

*Please note: This post contains affiliate links. Several links in this post will take you to Amazon.com or to other sites where you can find out additional information about some of the products mentioned here, read reviews, and check out prices.

The World Of Pain

Today, everybody in the United States is talking about opioids. The use of opioids is on the rise and addictions are rampant in every neighborhood. We can all hear the sound of the addiction alarm, and the alarm is loud.

In a previous article that pointed out pain relief facts, we discussed concepts of pain relief that you need to familiarize yourself with before putting yourself in harm’s way.

Here are some questions that we hope to answer in this follow-up article:

  • Are all these common treatments and medications necessary and safe?
  • What methods might be more effective than others?
  • What pain medicines or pain treatment methods should you avoid due to dangerous side effects?

In this article, we will try to answer all these questions. We will provide you with what may work for your aches and pains and we will help you avoid what can be dangerous.

When the treatments work

If you have experienced pain in the past, then you probably know how great life can be without pain.

You also remember that you probably tried various acute or chronic pain treatment methods and concluded that not all pain treatment methods deliver the same effects.

Good pain management

Noninvasive pain management allows you to forget that dull, sharp, burning, shooting or stabbing pain. This type of pain is as annoying as the endless papers you have to fill out at your doctors’ office.

You feel a sense of freedom when the chronic pain treatment works. All of a sudden you may find yourself dancing, singing, and being active again. For a short while, you wake up feeling amazing and ready to take on the world.

You play with your children and meet up with friends. Life is great! This positive and sudden change is definitely unlike when you had to cancel plans with friends and family because your pain made you miserable.

You do all this until the pain comes back.

When treatments fail

The wrath of your pain does not have mercy. This is especially true when your acute or chronic pain treatment doesn’t work. Traditional doctors spend endless years studying how to treat illnesses, so that they can provide the correct medication for their patients’ abnormal conditions. Technically, doctors learn to mask the symptoms.

Taking strong painkillers are very beneficial in certain cases. Painkillers are excellent for people recovering from surgical procedures, have cancer, or are undergoing end-of-life care.

In the case when the pain is not a life-threatening condition, the suffering may continue when the pain returns. When it does, you take shelter in your home, stock up on junk food, cancel plans, renew your Netflix membership, and brace the pain storm.

The Most Common Acute And Chronic Pain Treatment Methods

This is a new era of medicine. Doctors can operate via a virtual operating room while vacationing in the Swiss Alps, and robotic arms and legs can help people lift objects with precision.

We no longer administer shocks and jolts produced by electric fish. We don’t expect patients to chew on coca leaves, or use the milky liquids from poppy plants. We now have systems in place to help with the pain.

In this section, we will discuss the most common pain relief treatment systems and explain the best conditions under which they will work.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol)

Acetaminophen
Acetaminophen

Acetaminophen is a very common medicine with over 500 over-the-counter products. It is mostly used in the United States. In some countries it is referred to as Paracetamol and Panadol.

Acetaminophen is usually used for minor aches and pains and has no side effects when used correctly. However, the acetaminophen types of medicines (i.e. Tylenol) are not as effective as the Ibuprofen types (i.e. Advil or Naproxen). Acetaminophen is also available in prescription form.

Acetaminophen medicines are part of sound pain reduction techniques but do not necessarily reduce inflammation. They are often used for treating fever, neck pain, thigh pain, plantar fasciitis (stabbing pain in the bottom of the foot that results in heel pain), transverse myelitis (inflammation of the spinal cord), and muscle pain.

Acetaminophen is also used as a source of sciatic nerve pain relief, where the pain travels down from the lower back before transferring the pain down the sciatic nerve in the back of the legs.

This type of painkiller can be combined with other medicines, such as opioids.

Is acetaminophen (Tylenol) safe as a chronic pain treatment method?

Acetaminophen is safe for most cases. It is argued that Tylenol is the safest pain relievers for infants, babies, and children, as well as for people with GERD.

Tylenol is also an effective medicine for people on blood thinners. This is because it does not have agents that thin the blood. Most pain relief medicines have blood thinning agents already. It would make sense to prescribe Tylenol for those patients with high blood pressure instead of other alternatives.

Can Tylenol help for sciatica?

There are 6 leading causes of sciatica and Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is often taken to treat sciatica pain. If you’re taking Tylenol for your sciatica pain, you may also want to also consider an exercise program that helps you stretch your hamstring muscles.

Tylenol pills are easily digestible. This medicine can be a good option for such conditions as acid reflux or stomach ulcers. Of course, the better approach is to treat the reason for the pain and discomfort.

Acetaminophen is considered safe to take in most cases. Luckily, you will not get a heart attack or stroke if you take Tylenol.

Can I you use Tylenol for GERD?

Tylenol can be safe for people with GERD. If you have GERD and wish to incorporate Tylenol as a pain relief method, it is important to read the instructions provided with the medicine and to follow these guidelines:

  • You should not mix alcohol with acetaminophen.
  • Avoid caffeine and decaf beverages as well (they increase acid in the stomach).
  • You want to avoid foods that are very acidic (such as chili, spaghetti with tomato sauce, and pizza).

Although Tylenol with its many forms may be the gentler medicine because of its non-habit forming effects, you should continue to be cautious. Overusing acetaminophen can cause liver damage. This is why you should always follow the guidelines on the bottle.

What are the general guidelines for taking Tylenol?

Dangers of taking too much acetaminophenIn 2005, the FDA presented findings that showed that liver injuries were on the rise due to acetaminophen (Tylenol) overdose. It advised manufacturers of the need to reduce dosage strength for many over-the-counter products, including Tylenol.

The current maximum FDA recommendation is no more than 4000 mg. It is to be taken in 24 hours at doses of 650 mg to 1000 mg every 4 to 6 hours for adults and children over the age of 12.

Tylenol comes with some side effects.

  • It is crucial to not exceed the dosage on the medicine label. Even when acetaminophen is fairly safe, in 2016 the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reported an alarming annual national estimate of 78,414 visits to the ER for non-abuse related overdoses on acetaminophen products.
  • Melisa Lai Becker, instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School, confirms that people are not realizing how these doses add up. Some people are registering a high toxic level of these drugs in their liver at 4000 mg of acetaminophen. This amount exceeds the recommended dosage.

Acupuncture

Most forms of Oriental medicine that are used in the Western world today are rooted in Chinese medicine. This includes Shiatsu, acupressure massage, acupuncture, and macrobiotics.

Acupuncture in Asia: Where it all started

The estimated 2,500-year-old Chinese document titled “The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine” was the first to recognize acupuncture as an organized system of treatment and diagnoses.

As Western medicine was gaining notoriety in the 17th century, Chinese medicine was dismissed as superstitious and irrational.

In 1929, China outlawed acupuncture and other traditional methods of healing. It was reintroduced back into society in 1949, right after the end of the Chinese revolution. Soon after, acupuncture spread to Japan, Korea, and to other neighboring countries. It eventually reached the Western world in the early 1970’s.

Acupuncture in the West: An imported chronic pain treatment method

The theory of acupuncture has been challenged by many Westerners. Some claim that there is no evidence that acupuncture needles stimulate nerve endings.

acupunctureAlthough some evidence shows that it can help alleviate anxiety, depression, severe lower back pain, and neck pain, there is conflicting data regarding acupuncture to treat acute pain or chronic pain.

Are there inconsistencies in administering acupuncture?

There is conflicting data related to acupuncture. This is especially true since we hear of two methods of acupuncture:

  • Method 1: Needles are inserted into specific areas of the body.
  • Method 2: Random needles don’t even break the skin of the body.

A few studies have suggested that both methods can be somewhat effective for acute pain, and at times for chronic pain. It is highly recommended that you seek treatment with sterile needles.

Whether your practitioner uses method 1 or method 2, the general consensus is that any form of acupuncture is better than nothing at all.

Biofeedback

If you have ever meditated, then you probably know the power of relaxation.

Biofeedback is a method by which you become totally aware of what’s happening inside your body through ways of exercising the powers of your mind. It is the here and now!

Imagine lying on a beautiful quiet beach, away from all the stress and all the city noise. All you can hear is the sound of the waves. The sun is shining and you relaxed. You get the idea right? Relaxing is therapeutic and is very important for people who are seeking acute or chronic pain treatment methods.

If you have chronic pain, then you know how hard it is to fall asleep at night. Relaxing your muscles can definitely help you sleep better.

What are some examples of biofeedback therapy?

biofeedback

Muscle relaxation and deep breathing are two biofeedback therapy techniques. They may help in alleviating migraine headaches and chronic pain syndrome. Breathing exercises for back pain have even helped people feel some form of relief in the form of noninvasive back pain treatment.

With this method, you consciously control your otherwise involuntary bodily functions. Examples are the tension in your muscles, your blood pressure, your body temperature, and your heart rate. This is the work of magic and you are in control of it.

Not all patients have benefited from traditional biofeedback therapy. This is not to say that it doesn’t work as a chronic pain treatment method, or as an acute pain remedy.

When administered at a practitioner’s office, one of the components of a biofeedback therapy session is measuring a variety of signals on a display monitor in front of you. A variety of electrodes are connected to your skin. You can see the results right on the monitor as soon as you exude any form of stress in your body.

There are other types of biofeedback that you can administer at the comfort of your own home.

Can biofeedback help with sleep disorders?

Biofeedback for home use can be effective in teaching you how to induce sleep and alleviate stress-related conditions. It can also help you with guided imagery, breathing, relaxation techniques, and mindfulness meditation.

Biofeedback for home use has literally no side effects and is risk-free. There are many home-based biofeedback systems with advanced data apps that can be installed on your mobile phone.

They have great benefits and can help you master your inner balance.

What are the benefits of a home based biofeedback system?

  • An in-home biofeedback device can measure how calm your mind is and can adjust its parameters accordingly.
  • The advanced models can sense when your mind wanders.
  • It can help in lowering your blood pressure.
  • When your mind does wander, these machines can bring you back into focus by intensifying the sound.
  • The data can be collected from these units and transferred to your phone via a special app that you can install on your mobile phone.
  • You can review your data, set future goals, and reap the benefits whenever you want, wherever you want.

Lowering blood pressure and anxiety treatment with biofeedback

The main goal of biofeedback is to help you breathe better and relax your muscles without taking prescription drugs.

Although biofeedback is fairly new, this method has been shown to help patients who not only have blood pressure, but also anxiety attacks.

There are some personal non-drug devices that can help with hypertension. A device called RESPeRATE can help you relax and lower your high blood pressure naturally and without medication. Many devices that are marketed as “best for home use” are not yet regulated by the Food and Drug Administration but RESPeRATE is.

Be sure to speak to your doctor if you have any concerns, or if you have other chronic or severe conditions that are under a doctor’s supervision.

How to lower blood pressure with the FDA approved RESPeRATE device?

  • Follow the instruction on the packaging, and read the user manual.
  • Usually, you want to use the machine for 15 minutes during the day, 3-4 days a week.
  • Be sure to synchronize your breathing with the melody emitted from the machine.
  • It takes a few weeks to work, but FDA approved RESPeRATE will help you lower your systolic and diastolic blood pressure the natural way.

There are many versions of this device, including a deluxe version of RESPeRATE that uses sensors that can attach to your chest in order to measure your breathing.

These products’ effectiveness is backed by clinical trials. A RESPeRATE device does need a doctor’s prescriptions because it has no side effects. This device is usually eligible for flexible spending accounts (FSA) and health savings accounts (HSA).

Medical Botox Injections

Chronic low back pain is a very common type of pain. The instances of people with low back pain has alarmingly increased over the years. Medical Botox injections are very commonly administered for chronic low back pain patients.

In 2013, it was reported that low back pain was the third most common health condition for 142,377 adult females who visited health care practitioners. The top were skin disorders (the winner, at first place) and osteoarthritis and joint disorders (the runner up, at second place).

Chronic low back pain causes can vary from soft tissue injuries to mechanical issues. You can injure your back while lifting objects, exercising, or doing the simplest tasks. When you have low back pain, you feel achy in your spine and in your nerves. Sometimes medical Botox injections are the only treatments that work when no other painkillers work.

Having severe low back pain is a horrible predicament because often times you can’t move. You can lay low for a while, but when the pain persists, you may want to consider other options.

Botox use for chronic pain treatment

One of the common pain relief methods for low back pain is Botox injections. The technology works the same as that of the Botox injection in the face: Its purpose is to numb a certain area of your body. This noninvasive method offers non-surgical back pain relief.

Botox injections are a good option for chronic pain treatment. This is because Botox is a toxin that blocks communication with the nerves and paralyzes the muscles around the injection.

This is why people who just had Botox injections in their faces cannot make good facial expressions. Who can remember the famous 2013 feud between Gwyneth Paltrow and Joan Rivers on Botox injection? Paltrow feared to repeat the process, because she looked like Joan Rivers when she had Botox the first time. But the late comedienne Joan Rivers defended her openness about plastic surgery and Botox treatments.

When administered for medical purposes, the not invasive Botox injections can help people with chronic back pain by providing nerve pain relief. To make this work, physicians use computed tomography (CT) that locates the exact area where the pain is coming from.

Botox therapy targets the muscles around the pain area. This controls and relaxes the offending muscle and helps reduce the pain in the area.

The many uses of medical Botox injections

This effective method of medical Botox injection is approved by the FDA and can be beneficial for people with severe back pain and nerve pain. It is a good way to administer non-surgical back pain relief.

Some other conditions that can benefit from medical Botox injections include cervical dystonia (where the pain is mostly in the upper shoulder and neck areas) and Cerebral Palsy (when people suffer from involuntary spasms).

Medical Botox injections have been shown to help patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. They can also offer fibromyalgia pain relief.

Is medical Botox injection good for migraines?

Botox injections have been shown to help some people with chronic migraines, which are mostly defined as 15 or more migraines per month.

Most insurance companies cover medical Botox injections.

MigraineYou must check with your doctor to see if medical Botox injections for migraines are a good fit for your condition.

Here are the reasons why:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Let’s Talk!

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy, or talk therapy, that helps people solve behavioral-related problem. It teaches patients how to modify dysfunctional thinking in order to live a healthier life.

The main goal of CBT is to help patients relax and cope with life’s changes and stressors. This method of therapy relies more on the patient’s effort to get better.

Many studies have shown that CBT can help prevent migraines and panic attacks, as well as ease lower chronic back pain. It can also be effective as a neck pain treatment method.

The Spine Journal (the Official Journal of the North American Spine Society) stated in a research paper published in 2012 that CBT can help improve the life of a person with chronic pain, and specifically with spine pain.

Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) effective as a chronic pain treatment method?

CBT goes deep into negative behaviors that may bring on a person’s pain.

This method can help people manage their chronic condition by bringing changes to how they view their pain. It can also help people cope better and put their pain in better context, making it more manageable. CBT can help a person navigate life better, making it a good addition to the ongoing chronic pain treatment process.

Although some swear by it, this form of chronic pain treatment therapy may not be suitable for everyone.

  • It can make someone very uncomfortable: For example, a man who thinks that men should not cry may not feel at ease talking about his emotions. Someone like him may not be a good candidate for this type of therapy. However, someone who is willing to dig deep into his or her emotions may be an excellent candidate for CBT.
  • Although this method has helped a lot of people, some find CBT to be superficial and slow in delivering results. This is not because the method is not effective, but simply because some people can be inpatient. To benefit from this method, one has to be patient and willing to dig deep into their emotions at the beginning of the healing process in order to see future results.

Massage Therapy

Massage Therapy in Ancient EgyptThe very interesting history of pain goes back to Ancient civilizations; it includes zapping people with fish and torpedoes. Massage therapy is perhaps one of the oldest professions and most popular therapeutic methods of healing since the beginning of time. It was popular in ancient Egypt, China, India, Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq), and Greece.

An early reference of reflexology was apparent in the decorations of temples and tombs during the sixth dynasty of ancient Egypt. They included images of Egyptians massaging other people’s hands and feet with the following transcripts: “Do not let it be painful”.

In China, massage therapy came from the idea that diseases and illnesses attack a person due to an imbalance in their body energy. Massage therapy was a way to regain that balance.

What are the benefits of massage therapy, and can it help with my chronic pain treatment?

Today, massage therapy is highly regarded as a holistic healing method to help people relax and release stress from the body.

Massage therapy can help reduce toxins through the lymphatic system. It requires that the person drinks plenty of water after the massage therapy session. This helps flush out the released toxins that were in the body before the massage therapy session.

Massage therapy involves the manual manipulation of soft tissues of the body in order to promote the patient’s wellness.

Massage therapy has many therapeutic goals and can help alleviate a lot of pain in many tension areas. This includes headaches, fibromyalgia pain, joint pain, chronic back pain, hip pain, muscle spasms, and knee pain. This makes it a great chronic pain treatment option.

Massage therapy also offers shoulder pain treatment that alleviates stress and work-related knots, as well as neck soreness.

Are there any drawbacks to massage therapy?

Although it can feel amazing, massage therapy is not a good option for everyone.

  • Not everybody’s comfortable undressing in front of the massage therapist. Even if you’re not, you shouldn’t feel ashamed of your body in front of massage therapists. Their job is to help you heal, not to judge you.
  • Not all therapists can really be effective when treating the body with deep tissue massage. Some therapists may need to work closely with you on the intensity of the massage you desire. It is imperative to communicate with your therapist on whether you want them to increase or decrease the pressure on your muscles.
  • Some massages administered by practitioners, such as deep tissue massage, may cause bruising or muscle soreness that may last for several days. Supporting your healing with the correct diet that includes good nutrients, such as foods rich in potassium to help with bruising, is important when you undergo such therapy.
  • You must be able to handle smells that emit from a massage therapist’s area, like those of the essential oils used during massages.
  • Sometimes getting a massage can be disappointing because you many not notice any long lasting pain relief.
  • You may have to spend some money out of pocket when the insurance company stops paying for your massage therapy sessions.

READ MORE: 23 Perfect Stress Relief Gifts For Stressed Out People.

Massage TherapyThe money spent yearly on massage therapy exceeds $12 billion dollars. Therefore, it’s a very lucrative business. Most people confirm that it is worth spending this amount of money on healing with massage therapy.

Depending on your pain, your doctor may prescribe you a few massage therapy sessions. Be sure that your massage practitioner is licensed by the state. If they are not certified by the state, then make sure that they are certified by a national organization, such as The National Association of Massage Therapists (NAMT).

Some practitioners may charge anything from $50 to up to $200 per hour, making this form of therapy very costly.

You can buy the best home massagers and relieve pain on your own, without having to spend a lot of money.

NSAIDs For Arthritis

NSAID stands for “non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs”. You’ve heard of Ibuprofen, Naproxen, Aspirin, Motrin, Aleve, and Advil, right? These are all NSAIDs (pronounced ‘en-saids’) and the most popular over-the-counter medication for arthritis. They help with knee pain relief, as well as with other types of arthritis pain.

Unlike their counterpart acetaminophen, NSAIDs have more functions than most other pills taken as pain relief methods.

NSAIDs block substances that trigger inflammation. They are considered to be the best over-the counter pills to use for arthritis pain relief. They also act as a protective agent against heart disease, especially if taken in the form of low dosage 81 mg Aspirin.

These drugs can help reduce fever and inflammation. In addition, NSAIDs have been known to alleviate pain in the following categories: Lower back, osteoarthritis, soreness and swelling of the muscles, tension headaches, and mild migraines.

When it comes to living with arthritis, people with autoimmune disease, and especially people with Rheumatoid Arthritis, can benefit from NSADIs (such as Ibuprofen and Naproxen), as well as anti-inflammatory foods (such as avocados and green tea), and using products that can provide heat, alleviate inflammation, and offer joint support.

What are the main side effects of NSAIDs?

Although NSAIDs solve many pain issues, they can also have some side effects.

  • When used incorrectly, these drugs have been known to cause bruising, nausea, and kidney-related issues.
  • If you take Aspirin to prevent strokes and heart attacks, you have to know that even at lower doses Aspirin can cause stomach bleeding. We cannot stress this enough.
  • Be very careful overdosing on this medicine. It is imperative that you follow the recommended dosage.
  • NSAIDs are not supposed to be taken for more than 10 days at a time. If you feel that your pain is getting worse after 10 days, speak to your physician to see what he/she suggests.
  • Taking this type of pain relief medicine on a regular basis can cause stomach ulcers, bleeding in the intestines, strokes, kidney failure, and heart attacks. Therefore, it is absolutely crucial to check with your physician if you have experienced any side effects from using NSAIDs.
  • NSAIDs are not supposed to be tried without a physician’s supervision for people over the age of 65. They are also not advisable for pregnant women, or for people with ulcers, high blood pressure, asthma, or history of liver disease. If you suffer from any of these conditions, you should first consult with your physician before taking NSAIDs.

Topical Pain Relief Creams, Sprays, Rubs, And Packs

A topical pain relief gel or cream might already exist in your medicine cabinet.

These topical products are very popular because they’re available over-the-counter. You can literally go into any drugstore and buy one right now. They are rubbed, sprayed or used on the skin in the forms of hot and cold packs or patches.

Topical pain relief medications can also help with joint pain relief and visceral pain relief (the pain that originates from injuries to the internal tissues or organs). One of the most popular pain relief methods is using Bengay Cream, which is a very popular household name in the U.S.

Also popular are Gold Bond, Icy Hot, Tiger Balm, and Biofreeze. They can create a combination of feeling hot and then feeling cold. They provide relief by temporarily blocking the perception of pain.

In most cases, most of these products have natural pain relief ingredients and are safe to use with minimal side effects.

What are the side effects to using topical pain relief products?

Although they are topical, these medicines are not without some side effects.

  • These medications should never be applied on direct wounds.
  • Also, avoid touching the eyes after application and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly.
  • Topical painkillers can have adverse effects on those who are allergic to aspirin, or are on blood thinners. If you have any of these conditions do not take any of these medications without your physician’s supervision. This is because the chemicals in these topical products can cause allergies, itching, hives, swelling, stomach pain, asthma-like symptoms, and headaches in patients who have aspirin allergies or who are on such blood-thinning medications such as Warfarin (Coumadin).

Muscle Pain Medication (Skeletal Relaxants)

Skeletal relaxant medications have worked for many patients over the years, even when they don’t seem to target one specific area of the body.

These power drugs cause the sedation of the whole nervous system. Some people prefer taking other medications due to the powerful potency of the medicine; others don’t mind taking skeletal relaxants because they don’t want to deal with muscle pains and spasms at all. This is especially true when patients have pains in various areas of the body.

Soma (generic name: Carisoprodol) and Skelaxin (generic name: Metaxalone) are commonly used for chronic pain treatments.

What are skeletal relaxants used for?

Skeletal relaxants are commonly used for conditions such as multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy. Skeletal relaxants can help back pain, neck pain, and fibromyalgia. They have also been used for tension headaches, stroke-related arm and leg pain, cramps or spasms, and myofascial pain syndrome. Skeletal muscle relaxants can also be effective for patients with liver disease and cirrhosis, as they can alleviate muscle cramps.

Muscle relaxants can be a good option for people with a limited tolerance to Ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

There are other common skeletal muscle relaxants on the market, such as Flexeril (generic name: Cyclobenzaprine). Clinical trials continue to introduce similar medications.

For the most part, muscle relaxants remain a good choice for acute muscle pain relief. In certain situations, your doctor may prescribe skeletal muscle relaxants for chronic pain as part the pain management process.

What are the main drawbacks to using muscle relaxant products?

  • Muscle relaxants can have safety issues. The data on these drugs show that their desired intended results may produce adverse conditions. Chronic pain requires addressing not only the physical body, but also fatigue, depression, and reduced motivation, which these medicines do not address.
  • Muscle relaxants are not very suitable for people over the age of 65 because they tend to increase imbalances and induce the possibility of falling.

Chronic Pain Treatment With Opioids Narcotics Analgesics

Narcotic analgesics come in many brands. Their other names are opiates, opioid analgesics, and narcotics. Oxycodone, Demerol, and OxyContin are examples of opioids. They can relief chronic pain and acute pain, but can also be highly addictive.

What are opioids?

Opioids resemble chemicals in the brain that attach to parts of the nerve cells called opioids receptors. They block the pain signals that the body sends to the brain.

Tramadol pills (oral tablets) and injections (intravenous liquid or IV) are synthetic opioids that are often used to treat moderate to moderately severe pain. They can relieve pain within an hour or so. These opioids are sold under the names Ultra, Ultram ER, ConZip, FusePaq Synapryn, Rybix ODT, and Ryzolt.

There are Long-acting Opioids, such as OxyContin (Generic: Oxycodone), and short-acting opioids such as Codeine and Morphine Sulfate.

What do long acting opioids do?

When taken in their proper doses, long acting opioids are the more favorable opioids, although they can also be addictive. Long acting opioids can help in decreasing the dosing frequency and in improving steady plasma concentration in the blood, therefore reducing the frequency of sleep interruption, constipation, and nausea.

Should I take opioids if my doctor prescribes them to me?

Prescription opioids can be a good option to treat pain, if taken for short periods of time. They can help in acute pain relief efforts, such as after surgery, or after an accident.

You can take opioids that your doctor prescribes to you, but be sure to follow these conditions:

  • It is imperative to limit the intake for just a few days in order to alleviate severe pain. The pain usually lessens or subsides after a few days.
  • Opioids offer tremendous help for patients with cancer-related pains, but they can cause constipation. Make sure to eat foods rich in fiber, such as cooked split peas, cooked lentils, and cooked black beans.
  • Do not drink alcohol while taking opioids. Mixing alcohol with opioids can be dangerous and it could lead to confusion, anxiety, trouble breathing, and even an overdose.

Can I overdose on Tramadol?

A recent study at has concluded that the injectable form of Tramadol is very effective in alleviating labor pain among delivering mothers in developing nations. The study concluded that Tramadol provides a good alternative to the more complex, and more expensive Epidural, and is very safe for the mother and the baby.

Overdoses are rare when taking Tramadol under the supervision of a doctor, but can occur when patients take Tramadol in combination with other drugs. Therefore, it is crucial to tell your doctor what medications you’re on before taking Tramadol.

Although it is effective for alleviating severe pain, Tramadol can have side effects.

  • The FDA has not approved Tramadol for anyone under the age of 17.
  • Tramadol is also not suitable for the elderly population due to the increased risk of falls, sedation, cognitive impairment, and respiratory depression.
  • Tramadol can cause slowness and difficulty breathing.

Can I have bad side effects or overdose on OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet?

That really depends on how long you’ve been taking opioids and what your dosage is. When you abuse these opioids, the results can be devastating.

  • When used for a long period of time, opioids can lead to addiction and despair.
  • A 2016 study at Vanderbilt University on long acting opioids showed that overusing opioids to manage severe or moderate pain can result in an overdose and sometimes death. Upon completion of the study, Wayne Ray, PhD said: “We found that the opioid patients had a 64 percent increased risk of death for any reason and a 65 percent increased risk of cardiovascular death.”
  • Other reported side effects of opioids include urinary retention, delirium, respiratory depression, hypotension, constipation, bowel dysfunction, tooth decay, dry mouth, the risk of bone fracture, low sex hormones, nausea, vomiting, sleep disorders, fatigue, headaches, decreased the level of consciousness, and cramps.

Physical Therapy (PT)

Physical therapy pain management techniques have worked for many people. Physicians, occupational therapist, speech-language pathologists, and nurses are all part of the physical therapy team.

Hydrotherapy is a form of physical therapy that takes place in warm water to alleviate partial paralysis or arthritis. A pilot study published in the Australian Journal of Physiotherapy investigated hydrotherapy as one of many potential chronic back pain relief techniques. The results of the study showed a reduction in the level of pain that lasted for the duration of the study.

In modern times, physical therapy is a well-known profession that provides hands-on massages and exercise techniques designed specifically to improve the flexibility and strength of the patient’s joints and mobility.

What are the guidelines for physical therapy?

  • Make sure that your physical therapist listens to you and is willing to modify your rehab program to suit your needs and to adjust to your pain threshold.
  • Your physical therapist should be multifaceted and should not only provide passive treatments such as ultrasounds, massages, and traction (spinal decompression). Your therapist should also offer active treatments such as postural correction and exercises.
  • Never stay with a physical therapist who only recommends passive treatments. This will make you dependent on your physical therapist for longer periods of time than necessary.

Glucosamine And Chondroitin Supplements

Glucosamine and Chondroitin are a part of a body’s normal cartilage, which is a firm connective tissue in a joint that acts as a buffer between the bones.

Worn or damaged cartilage cause friction between the bones. This usually indicates worn or damaged cartilage.

According to Howard J. Luks, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon & Sports Medicine Specialist, the most common area of cartilage defects is located on the inner side of the knee.

Where do glucosamine and chondroitin come from?

The covering of shellfish contains glucosamine. When extracted, it can often help with hip and knee pain relief measures, osteoarthritis (OA), and arthritis.

Chondroitin comes from sources such as shark cartilage or bovine cartilage (an animal within the cattle group). It helps reduce pain and inflammation and can also slow the progression of osteoarthritis (OA).

These supplements can be taken separately, but are also available as one pill, simply under the name Glucosamine Chondroitin. Glucosamine and chondroitin can help decrease swelling and slow the degeneration of joint cartilage. If not treated, joint cartilage degeneration can lead to osteoarthritis pain.

What are the major drawbacks to taking glucosamine and chondroitin?

Although their benefits outweigh any inconvenience, taking glucosamine and chondroitin can have some minor side effects, but only in the presence of other conditions.

  • People who are pregnant, undergoing chemotherapy, suffering from diabetes, or patients who are taking blood thinners such as Warfarin (Coumadin) need to consult with their physician before taking glucosamine and chondroitin.
  • Taking glucosamine and chondroitin with other medications can increase glucose levels (the amount of sugar in the blood).
  • Be sure to consult with your doctor if you’re taking any other medications and would like to try glucosamine and chondroitin.

Zap Your Pain Away With A TENS Device

Since we are in modern times, we are not going to use electric fish like ancient civilizations did to send shocks to our bodies.

When you are in pain, you can now use a modern little device called TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) that is designed to alleviate both acute and chronic pain.

The unit comes with a special battery and a few sticky pads, called electrodes, which attach to the body.

How do TENS devices work?

A TENS device sends mild electrical currents through electrodes that are usually positioned around the pain area. By sticking two electrodes in the skin around the pain area, you will stimulate sensations and tickle the affected nerves. This provides mild contractions in your muscles and delivers nerve pain relief while numbing the pain.

You can adjust the settings on these devices to allow them to emit various frequencies.

TENS for labor pain?

In 1987 a group of pregnant women experienced the effects of a unique TENS machine. Initially, they did not respond well to traditional pain relief methods during labor. It was very effective during the early stages of labor and allowed the mothers to go without an epidural during their natural birth process. The unit sends electrical impulses for shorter periods of time when the mothers’ contractions were at their worst.

There are many forms of TENS devices. The TENS technology is popular with physical therapists, as well as chronic pain clinics. Doctors give these TENS devices to their patients to take home, as part of their pain relief regimen.

TENS devices are regarded as safe and are readily available for people to purchase over the counter. A physician does not need to prescribe them. The electrodes are cleanable and changeable.

What are the main drawbacks when using TENS devices?

TENS devices have zero to negligible side effects.

  • If you start your TENS session on a higher setting than normal, you may temporarily irritate your skin. TENS will not hurt you, but may jolt your muscles at a noticeable rate. You simply want to practice adjusting the settings from really low to high, while increasing the intensity as you go along.
  • If you use a TENS device on a daily basis, you may find that the electrodes may last about 1- 3 months because they will stop sticking to your skin. Don’t worry… Electrodes are easily replaceable.

Spinal Manipulation Therapy (SMT By Chiropractor)

A chiropractic practitioner uses hands-on manipulation of the spine, as well as other parts of the body, in order to enable the body to heal itself without surgery or medication. Modern practitioners refer to this method as “performing adjustments”.

Although chiropractors undergo extensive training in this method of care, they are not medical doctors.

A chiropractor can help with back pain

Having a chiropractic practitioner adjust the spine of a patient suffering from low back pain (lumbar spine) or neck pain (cervical spine) has shown to provide good relief. The application of “thrust” to these areas improves the body’s alignment and restores mobility.

In May 2013, the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapies (JMPT) published a study on low back pain relief after a number of patients underwent spinal manipulation procedures. The data showed that the immediate benefits of spinal manipulation treatment were visible on patients. The study concluded that SMT is effective in decreasing low back pain.

This method of addressing pain can be beneficial for the relief of tension headaches. It also helps with joint and shoulder pain relief efforts.

Are there any drawbacks for having a chiropractor perform spine manipulation?

Having a chiropractor adjust your spine can carry some risk and is not without side effects.

  • Although the benefits of spine manipulation outweigh the risk, expect some soreness in the affected area as the body attempts to heal itself.
  • You can get temporary headaches and some discomfort from such adjustments.
  • Consult with your physician if you have had any history of fractures, osteoarthritis, or osteoporosis before going through this treatment.
  • Make sure your body is in the hands of a really good practitioner with an excellent reputation. You need to consider, and take on the risk, that sometimes bad neck adjustments could lead to potential strokes.

Triptans For Migraines

Triptans are a class of drugs that are used for migraine attacks. They can quickly stop a migraine as well as alleviate bad symptoms of nausea and sensitivity to sound and light.

Some popular brands include Axert (generic: AlmoTriptan), Frova (generic: FovaTriptan), Maxalt (generic: RizaTriptan, Alsuma, Imitrex, Zecuity (generic: SumaTriptan) and Zomig (Generic: ZolmiTriptan).

Triptans can offer quick relief, especially for patients with frequent migraines. Patients should take these medicines at the first sign of a migraine. This class of drugs works by temporarily narrowing the blood vessels and provides relief within approximately two hours.

WebMD reports that combining a Triptan with non-prescription medicine, such as acetaminophen or Naproxen, can offer better relief for headaches. Of course, always speak your physician about your options.

Are there any drawbacks to using Triptans?

Although their benefits outweigh their inconveniences, Triptans are not without some side effects.

  • Doctors will most likely not recommend Triptans to patients with certain conditions. These include high blood pressure, chest pain, peripheral vascular disease (PVD), and heart disease.
  • Not all patients who take Triptans find pain relief in this type of medicine. A Triptan that works well for one patient may not work well for another.
  • You may have to try more than one Triptan to find the right one that can help with your migraines.

Pain Relief For Dogs: Can Dog Pain Relief Include Over The Counter Human Medicine?

No. Do not give human medicine to your dog… Ever!

People often assume that human painkillers are suitable for dogs. This is farthest from the truth for any type of human medicine. Although it sounds innocent, these NSAIDs are dangerous when given to dogs or pets in general.

You wouldn’t give chocolate to your dog, would you? You heard it’s dangerous, and now you’re reading that human medicine is also dangerous if given to a dog.

In case you’re curious, chocolate has theobromine, a component that is toxic to dogs because they cannot metabolize it correctly. The same applies to human medicine. Dogs may not be able to process it the same way our bodies can.

Human NSAIDs can have dangerous side effects in dogs, regardless of whether or not the dogs are suffering from inflammation. It is imperative that you consult with your vet before giving your dog any dosage of NSAIDs or other types of human medicine. The wrong amount can result in adverse side effects or even death.

So, the bottom line… Don’t give your dog chocolate or human medicine!

In Conclusion: Do Your Research Before Undergoing Any Pain Treatment Method

We have illustrated the most common methods and medicines people use for chronic pain treatments and for acute pain relief.

You need to educate yourself on what options you have available before navigating through your pain. You should question all treatments. Some pain relief treatments might be effective for your condition, and others might be dangerous, or even deadly.

Keep track of your pain frequency in a pain journal. This way, you can discuss better treatment options with your physician or practitioner. Also, let your physician know what current medications you are taking. This will help assure that your pain relief efforts do not interfere with any other chemicals in your body.

Be cognizant of the fact that not all aches and pains are chronic and some will disappear with time.

What about you? Did any of the non-surgical healing methods help you out? Share your thoughts below and let us know.

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